MX23RW : Sunday, October 17 09:15:56| >> :60:2435:2435:
Oct 31, 2015 at 3pm UK at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid
Las PalmasLas Palmas
Isco (4'), Ronaldo (14'), Jese (43')
FT(HT: 3-1)
Hernan (38')

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Las Palmas

Sports Mole previews the La Liga encounter between Real Madrid and Las Palmas.

La Liga leaders Real Madrid host Las Palmas on Saturday looking to extend their unbeaten record in all competitions to 13 matches.

Las Palmas make the trip to the Bernabeu having recently changed managers, but after their goalless draw with Villarreal last week, they will believe that they can secure another surprise result against one of the top sides in the division.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Spanish coach Rafael Benitez shouts instructions to his players during the UEFA Champions League football match Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) vs Real Madrid, on October 21, 2015 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris.© Getty Images

At most clubs, beginning a reign at a new team with a 12-match unbeaten spell would bring wholehearted positivity from both board and supporters, but Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez is aware that he still has much to prove at the Bernabeu.

Los Blancos sit at the top of the La Liga standings on goal difference, just ahead of fierce rivals Barcelona, but despite maintaining their slender advantage with a 3-1 victory away at in-form Celta Vigo last weekend, their performance suggested that they still have work to do if they are to remain at the summit.

"Spectacular" and "incredible" were two of the superlatives used to describe the performance of goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who produced one of his best performances in a Real shirt to keep Vigo at bay until the 85th minute of the match, and if their hosts had not looked indecisive in defensive areas during the opening 25 minutes of the match, the result could have been different.

That said, Real's triumph saw them steal a march over the season's surprise package, as well as extending their away record to 11 points from five fixtures, which is the best return in the division, and Cristiano Ronaldo was able to extend his tally to 12 goals in all competitions.

The Portuguese has failed to reproduce his usual high standards during the opening two months of the campaign, but it would come as no surprise if netting in successive league matches leads to a sustained run of form from the 2014 Ballon d'Or winner.

While some of Real's performances have come in for criticism, they boast the best defensive record in La Liga and the Champions League, and they are yet to see a goal scored against them at the Bernabeu, a streak they will be expecting to preserve on Saturday.

Recent form: WWDDWW
Recent form (all competitions): DWDWDW

Las Palmas

After 13 years away from the top flight of Spanish football, Las Palmas are under no illusions regarding the task to stay in La Liga, but the club's players can be relatively content with their start to the season.

They have suffered five defeats from nine games - the joint worst in the division - and have already changed managers, but they remain just three points from safety after already playing several of the league's top clubs, with the majority of their points coming against the odds.

Fighting back from 3-1 down, and with 10 men, to draw at Celta Vigo drew widespread praise, as did their 2-0 triumph at home to Sevilla. Three successive defeats followed, but last week's goalless draw against Villarreal has left Los Amarillos with renewed belief ahead of their trip to the capital.

Goals remain a problem - just six have been scored all season and they have not found the back of the net for 272 minutes - but they should not be overawed by the trip to face the league leaders.

Despite losing by one goal at both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, they remained competitive against teams who would have expected a comfortable 90 minutes, and with Granada and Malaga already showing this season that Real can be frustrated in attack, this may not be the walk in the park for Benitez's men that some expect.

Recent form: LWLLLD

Team News

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring Real's opening goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid at Vicente Calderon Stadium on October 4, 2015© Getty Images

Earlier this week, Real Madrid were boosted by the return to training of James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema, who have both been absent from their side's most recent matches.

Pepe is also in line to feature in the squad, but attacker Gareth Bale remains out with the calf injury that he aggravated on international duty.

Right-sided defender Dani Carvajal is also a doubt with an ankle injury, while Alvaro Arbeloa has a knock.

Former Wigan Athletic player Antolin Alcaraz has been carrying a calf problem, but he may hand Quique Setien a welcome boost after making a return to training.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Navas; Danilo, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Jese, Ronaldo, Benzema

Las Palmas possible starting lineup:
Varas, Garrido, Artiles, Bigas, Simon, El Zhar, Vicente Gomez, Mesa, Araujo, Viera, Tana

Head To Head

Since 1988, the two clubs have met on just four occasions, all of which came between 2000 and 2002.

Real ran out victors in three of those four matches, but Las Palmas did stun the La Liga giants in front of their own fans in October 2001, winning by a 4-2 scoreline.

However, Real netted 15 goals during the four matches, including seven in their last meeting.

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We say: Real Madrid 3-0 Las Palmas

While Real have not found top gear this season and still have fitness doubts over a number of key players, they should have enough quality at their disposal to ensure that they can see off their opponents with minimal fuss ahead of their important Champions League fixture with Paris Saint-Germain.

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Real Madrid's Spanish coach Rafael Benitez shouts instructions to his players during the UEFA Champions League football match Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) vs Real Madrid, on October 21, 2015 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris.
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Benitez pleased with win at Celta Vigo

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